I learned recently that two of my acquaintances, a mother and daughter, have the misfortune of suffering from frequent insomnia. Mentioning this news to my children on our drive to school this morning, I added, “The next time you go to bed and find it very easy to fall asleep, be grateful you don’t have insomnia!”
Did that sound too callous—not to mention impossible (noticing that you’d fallen asleep easily)?–
Be glad you don’t have what they have?
Not liking the sound of that, I thought of a way of expressing the idea in slightly more positive terms:
We all have our challenges–being human, as we are. But there are always positive things in our lives to be noticed and enjoyed, if we pay attention.
I went on. “For example, since Monica* and Cathleen* don’t have the blessing in their lives of being able to fall asleep easily, the challenge for them is to notice frequently the blessings they do have—such as a husband/daddy who loves and supports them. What a blessing!
“Unfortunately, there are people who don’t have a spouse or daddy to love and support them. Their challenge is to notice the blessings which they do have in their life, such as cool co-workers who make going to work more fun than drudgery for them. What a blessing!
“But there are plenty of people who hate their jobs, finding them absolutely tedious and unfulfilling, and who have no cool co-workers to make work bearable. What is the challenge for them?”
“To look for what is going right in their lives!” my kids answered. (Clever kids!)
“Right! Maybe for those job-haters, the challenge for them is to realize what a blessing it is for them to have music in their lives—and functioning ears to hear it! Maybe they go home after work and play their guitar for hours, singing along. What a blessing!”
I liked this on-going story we were creating–a fun challenge coming up with less-obvious blessings. Reminds me of Betsy ten Boom in The Hiding Place. To her grateful mind, even fleas were considered a blessing—since they kept the cruel German guards out of the barracks. When parts of our lives are undesirable, Yes, we can work toward positive change. Yes, we can seek solutions. But in the meantime, we can smell the roses. Noticing and enjoying what we’ve been given, especially during the valleys of lifes’ poignant challenges–perhaps that is The Challenge.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.